Local Governments Aren’t Giving Up on Public Power


Barbara Hale. Photo courtesy of Will Reisman

As PG&E plans its reorganization after declaring bankruptcy, cities around Northern California are working to figure out how to take over the distribution of electricity, hoping to better serve residents. A coalition of city leaders and advocates made a statement this month pushing for PG&E to be turned into a co-op.

San Francisco has made an offer to buy the city’s electrical grid from the utility for $2.5 billion, which the company rejected. San Francisco is not alone, however – several local governments, including rural ones, around California made offers to buy PG&E’s distribution systems. Barbara Hale, assistant general manager of the San Francisco Public Utilities Commission’s Power Enterprise, explains why San Francisco has been considering such a buyout since long before the utility’s bankruptcy.

“What kind of company will PGE be as they emerge, what kind of capacity to safely, reliably, affordably provide electric service in our communities?” — Barbara Hale

We Need You

Your financial support makes our work possible. Support independent local journalism by making a donation to become a member of the San Francisco Public Press.

Become a member today!

A segment from our radio show, “Civic.” Listen daily at 8 a.m. and 6 p.m. on 102.5 FM in San Francisco.